Body only looked after comfort of politicians, bureaucrats
Golf courses to be directly managed by Tourism Deptt
JAMMU, Apr 7: Union Ministry of Home Affairs has dumped the Jammu and Kashmir Golf Development and Management Authority after it came to the fore that the body has failed to meet the objectives even after the lapse of nearly seven years. With this development, all the golf courses in this Union Territory will be directly managed by the Department of Tourism.
In the month of April 2013, the then National Conference-Congress Coalition Government had enacted the Jammu and Kashmir Golf Development and Management Authority Act to ensure better maintenance, creation, marketing, management and other affairs of the golf courses in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Chief Minister was made ex-officio Chairman of the Authority and Minister for Tourism Vice-Chairman. Moreover, Minister of State for Tourism, Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and Administrative Secretaries of Planning, Finance, Tourism and Culture Departments were made Members of the Authority.
Even a provision was made for appointment of Managing Director-cum-Chief Executive Officer of the Authority besides nomination of four persons-two each from the category of eminent golfers and other sports persons as its Members.
The duties of the Authority were to build, maintain, manage and promote all types of golf infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir; establish Golf Information Centres and Golf Courses; to hold golf tournaments and events; to engage consultants and turf experts for maintenance and up-gradation of the golf courses; to raise funds generally for the betterment of the golf courses; make provisions for conducting competitions in golf in Jammu and Kashmir at national, international, inter-state or local levels and to arrange golf tours.
However, Union Ministry of Home Affairs has reached to the conclusion that Authority has largely failed to meet the objectives behind its creation as such it has repealed the Jammu and Kashmir Golf Development and Management Authority Act, 2013 by way of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020, which was issued recently.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs has come to know that Authority has only looked after the comforts of influential politicians as well as top bureaucrats instead of fulfilling its mandate”, said sources privy to the discussions which led to the decision of repealing the Act.
Pointing towards the provision relating to appointment of staff, sources said, “no transparent procedure was adopted for the appointment of Managing Director-cum-Chief Executive Officer of the Authority and other officers and officials including experts for technical work”.
“Even the provision relating to salary and allowances to the staff of the Authority was intentionally kept vague so as to shower undue benefits upon the blue-eyed officers and officials”, sources further said, adding “had there been even bit of seriousness towards achieving the objectives behind creation of Golf Development and Management Authority at least Rules of the Act would have been framed during the past nearly seven years”.
It is pertinent to mention here that in J&K Reorganization Act, 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs had mentioned that Jammu and Kashmir Golf Development and Management Authority Act, 2013 shall remain in force in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Now, the Act has been repealed keeping in view all these facts while exercising powers conferred under Section 96 of the J&K Reorganization Act.
Some officers of golf courses, when contacted, confirmed that J&K Golf Development and Management Authority was only looking after the comforts of the politicians and top bureaucrats instead of working for the maintenance, creation, marketing, management and other affairs of the golf courses in Jammu and Kashmir.
With the repealing of Act, all the golf courses in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be directly managed by the Tourism Department. “There was no rationale behind creating separate Authority especially when Golf Tourism is exclusively the domain of the Tourism Department”, sources said.
Even Union Tourism Ministry is directly corresponding with the Department of Tourism as far as its endeavour to work as a catalyst and active supporter for the development of Golf Tourism in the country is concerned, they further said.